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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: Moonlight Ping Pong
By Betty Castleberry


“Remember Mom, no junk food.”

“Of course not, dear.”

Meg kissed Taylor’s cheek. “Behave. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

My eight year old pride and joy wiped the damp spot on her cheek. “Okay.”

Taylor and I waved as her mother drove off.

Pulling my granddaughter by the hand, we went to the kitchen and opened the pantry.
My pantry is a plethora of cookies, snack cakes, chocolates and candies, not to mention a variety of chips, nuts, and pretzels.

Taylor pulled out a chocolate cream-filled cake. “I want this.”

“Excellent choice, Miss Taylor. You are now deemed an Excellent Snack Picker Extraordinaire, not to be confused with a Noted Nose Picker Extraordinaire.”

Taylor giggled.

I got one for myself, and we settled on the couch to watch TV. “Let’s watch Hannah Montana.”

“Really, Grandma?”

“Absolutely. I’ll have you know I am quite with it.”

We watched as Hannah Montana sang. Taylor bounced on the sofa.

“Get up, girlfriend. We are going to dance.” I spun her around. “We should sing, too, but we need these.” I grabbed two candles and handed her one. She followed my lead as I sang into the candle. “The very best microphones are made of wax, you know.”

While Taylor examined her candle, I admired her shiny hair and the trail of freckles across her nose.

She looked up. “Grandma, are you staring? Because if you are, it isn’t nice.”

“I guess I was, sweetie, but I was only admiring you. You have beautiful hair. It’s your great genes.”

“I forgot what genes are.”

“Well, genes are the things that make you special. They decide what color your hair and eyes are going to be.”

“Maybe your genes are mixed up, Grandma. You have red hair now, but Mom said your hair used to be brown.”

Although I love my daughter very much, sometimes she talks too much. That’s probably a genetic thing as well, because I’ve done it myself.

“Did she?” I figured a diversion would be the best way to handle the situation. “Let’s go to the basement.”

Taylor loves our subterranean playground. A ping pong table sits center stage, and shelves on either side of it are lined with books and games to rival any toy store.

“Taylor, I have a surprise for you, but I have to go to the Dreaded Dungeon to get it.”

I put my arm around her shoulder and pulled her to my side. She snuggled up against me.

The closet under the stairs is small and dark. Although there is nothing frightening in it, it is, after all, in the basement. That automatically puts it in the scary category.

We tiptoed to the closet and I reached for the knob, turning it very slowly. The door opened with an appropriate movie-set squeak.

I peeked inside and yelled, “Boo!”

Taylor jumped back. “Grandma, you scared me.”

“Yes, I did. Shame on me.”

I reassured her with a wink, and we burst out in simultaneous laughter.

“Here’s what I wanted.” Fitting a pink princess hat on her head, I nodded. “You’re as pretty as any princess ever was.”

“Let me see it.” She removed the hat and stroked the cascade of netting that trailed from the back. “Cool.”

“You have to put it back on, so I can wear my Queen Grandmother hat.”

I reached into the closet and retrieved a tiara adorned with rhinestones. “This, dear Taylor, is what a real queen wears. Someday you will wear this and your own granddaughter will wear the princess hat.”

“I won’t have a granddaughter. I’m not getting married, because I don’t like boys.”

“You like your dad and your grandpa.”

“They aren’t boys.”

I had to give her that.

“When is Grandpa coming home?“

“In about an hour. In the meantime, do you want to play moonlight ping pong?”

“What’s that?”

“I’ll show you. If I turn off the light over the ping pong table, it will be just dark enough, but we can still see a little.”

I flipped the light switch and tapped a glow-in-the-dark ball her way. The princess hat slid down her forehead and over one eye as she swung her paddle at the glowing sphere volleying toward her.

I pulled my tiara down over my eyes and looked at her through a rhinestone peephole. “Let’s paint the ping pong table purple with pink polka dots.”

Taylor grinned. “You’re crazy, Grandma.”

More flattering words had never been spoken.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Kristen Hester04/10/08
You make me want to skip parenting and go straight to grandparenting. This is so sweet and cute! Love it.
Betsy Markman04/10/08
Wow! I hope I learn how to be that fun. Wonderfully written.
Marita Vandertogt04/10/08
Lots of action in this one, that made it a fun read. Here's a grandma in the know when it comes to grandkids...Hannah Montana and all. Good job!
Joanne Sher 04/11/08
Absolutely delightful in EVERY way. I want this grandma with a PASSION (and I want to BE her some day!).

This may have just been me (usually is), but the tone of a couple of her "asides" seemed a bit "off" for the piece. Not sure I can explain what I mean, but felt led to mention it.

I really LOVED this!
Dee Yoder 04/12/08
I can't wait to be a Grandma, too, and I aspire to be one as crazy and fun as this one! What a wonderful place for any child to visit and what a wonderful Grandma to visit with. Love it!
Lynda Schultz 04/12/08
Love the dialogue. This is one "hip" granny. Well done.
Laury Hubrich 04/12/08
Love this! This is the grandma I would love to be, too, when its my turn, that is:) What a great story!
Jan Ackerson 04/12/08
I love this grandma, too! You've created a real winner.

Pieces like this bring out the English teacher in me, though--it's written masterfully, but it's lacking in conflict, which is an element that really pulls the reader along. This is purely a person preference, though--there are tons of readers who enjoy the sweetness in stories like this.

Great title, and lovely story.
Lyn Churchyard04/12/08
Being a grandmother is a wonderful occupation, and the grandmother in your story is so much fun.

I love the flow of this. The princess hat and the tiara were a lovely touch.

Chely Roach04/13/08
Loved it. Period.:)
Sharlyn Guthrie04/13/08
You've set a new and very high standard for FUN!
Mariane Holbrook 04/14/08
This is just the cutest and sweetest thing. If there was a prize for that, you'd win hands down!! But seriously, this was such a delightful read and I loved every minute of it!
LaNaye Perkins04/14/08
This is precious, I loved every part of it from start to finish. Well done!
Mandy White04/15/08
Such a fun grandmother! This was a joy to read. Thanks!
Loren T. Lowery04/15/08
Loving diversion - simple, pure love - loved it!
Debbie Wistrom04/15/08
What a way to spend the day! Great story, loved the way she connected on the grandaughter's level.
Joy Faire Stewart04/15/08
Love the interaction of grandma and granddaughter and the wonderful humor. This is a delight!
LauraLee Shaw04/15/08
Oh, if I could only be half the mom this grandma is! How cool is she! Thanks for lightening my spirit and giving me hope for the future...
Sara Harricharan 04/16/08
Oooh-I absolutely LOVED this one! One of my favorites for this week. It is so precious-and lol-It would be fun to have a Grandmother like this! I loved your last line with "more flattering words" that made me laugh out loud. The little details, the glow-in-the-dark ping pong ball and the tiara, it made this very special. Excellent writing! ^_^
Joshua Janoski04/16/08
“Excellent choice, Miss Taylor. You are now deemed an Excellent Snack Picker Extraordinaire, not to be confused with a Noted Nose Picker Extraordinaire.”

That line made me chuckle.

This has to be the COOLEST grandma ever, and this story has to be one of the best I have read this week. Your writing always shines, Betty. :)
Lenda Blackmon04/17/08
This made me think of the times I have with my granddaughters especially the snacking part. Us girls know how to snack. Loved it!